By: Kebba AF Touray
The Commissioner General of Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr Yankuba Darboe, has said the transit trade between The Gambia and Mali remains a major challenge, despite the ECOWAS Protocol on free movement of goods and services.
CG Darboe, while addressing the staff of GAM Petroleum, as part of GRA’s on-going visit to its branches and sister entities within the Greater Banjul Area, called on ECOWAS Member States to respect, comply and implement the said ECOWAS protocol that has been signed by the states.
“One of the biggest challenges facing Banjul and Bamako is the area of transit trade barriers which remain a major obstacle between The Gambia and Mali. This has seriously hampers the speedy operation between The Gambia and Mali due to lack of respect for the ECOWAS protocols by member states,” he said.
Darboe said presently, over 90 trucks are standing at the Mandinary Depot due to transit trade barriers by neighbour countries.
He said The Gambia has signed all the protocols with all the international parties and organizations such as ECOWAS, World Trade Organization, African Union and the European Union among others. But, he said, the Transit Trade continues to be hampered by barriers, and this remains a cause for concern in the sub region.
Mr. Darboe further said the issues of transit trade should be addressed by member states in a bid to ensure smooth trade facilitation within the sub-region. He equally called on ECOWAS member states to adhere to the ECOWAS protocols and allow free movement of goods and peoples within the sub-region.
GRA Boss said Customs needs to work with GAM-Petroleum Management with a view to ensure the problem affecting transit trade is address.
“We as an institute or country have signed all the protocol with all the parties outside and anything related to transit or trade. There should be a free movement of goods from one country to another country, he said.
Darboe said they anticipated free transit trade will be smoothened after signing the relevant protocols, but it’s on the contrary at the moment.
Saikou Drammeh, General Manager GAM –Petroleum, informed the tax officials that the role of Gam Petroleum is to receive fuel and keeping the stock for the country. He said they also engage in lots of re-export with Mali, Bissau and by extension Guinea Conakry- as and when the need arises.
“GAM-Petroleum receives all petroleum products from LPG, a cooking Gas to heavy fuel for NAWEC, to be able to have fuel for flight and we have the capacity to pump the vessel,” he said.